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Ranking all of the Mario Kart games

So today we see the launch of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. While I don’t plan on picking up this one, I have however played all of the other Mario Kart Games. So in the tradition of the internet, I’m going to tell you the definitive Mario Kart Ranking from worst to best. Let me know if you agree or give me your ranking below in the comments.


9) Mario Kart Tour (Mobile)

For anyone that’s played it, this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. This free-to-start game locks ALOT of content behind paywalls and microtransactions. I was able to beta test this game early on and had some fun while playing it, but it quickly wore off and I became very tired and bored of the mechanics, swipe controls and all this was an odd one. While visually looked pretty darn good, reusing many assets from Mario Kart 7 and 8, this could have been something much cooler than it ended up being.


8) Mario Kart Super Circuit (Game Boy Advance)

Super Circuit is the third main installment in the Mario Kart series and was released for the Game Boy Advance. This was the first MK to get the handheld treatment. Because of limitations it still had a small roster, a smaller selection of courses and ultimately made the best part of Mario Kart to be a chore. There was no easy way to play multiplayer, you would need the GBA link cables and all that fun stuff to actually play games with your friends. But one of the biggest charms about the franchise is playing with others and this left a lot to be desired. Just an example of being limited by the technology of its time.


7) Super Mario Kart (SNES)

This is the one that started it all. Unlike other racing games on a console at the time that focused on single-player competitive competition with skill. Mario Kart was developed with ease of use and two-player design. The game was meant (much like the Wii console) to be picked up and played by almost anyone. The courses were more designed as obstacle courses vs racing tracks and the introduction of a One v One battle mode was something that’s stood the test of time. Since it’s super success, we have seen all of these spin-offs on the list which carries on the legacy of Super Mario Kart.


6) Mario Kart 64 (N64)

The second installment in the series took a big leap further enhancing the experience from Super Mario Kart. Adding in a bigger roster (adding in Donkey Kong and Wario), and cooler courses, as well as the addition of 4 player competition, makes this one of the more memorable entries in the franchise. The courses were made much longer than its predecessor and they focused on enhancing the battle modes as well which lead to many late-night gaming sessions (or arguing) with friends.


5) Mario Kart 7 (3DS)

Mario Kart 7 may not be the most memorable in the series but it’s this high up due to some changes made with this entry. This added the hang gliding and underwater driving we still utilize to this day. It also introduced Kart customization instead of racing premade Karts, which is something I still REALLY enjoy doing, finding that perfect kart for me. The online multiplayer was pretty solid as well, which helps enhance the experience so it doesn’t suffer like it did on the GBA.


4) Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

I was working for Best Buy when this game was released in stores. We would easily at the time sell 50+ copies a week, this was at the height of the Wii craze when everyone and their grandma (literally) had a Wii. Perhaps the easiest to use console in history, players were easily able to adapt and play Mario Kart (which was already known to be a great pick up and play game) by leveraging the motion consoles of the Wii. While I was never huge and still am not a fan of motion controls, in certain applications, it was a great time. This was the prime example of such. Pick up that Wii Wheel and get to racing. Adding in even more racers including Rosalina (hot off the galaxy success) this game was a gem, and selling over 37 million units, many people clearly agreed.


3) Mario Kart DS (DS)

The second attempt at a handheld Mario Kart played a lot better than it’s predecessor. It was the first handheld Mario Kart title to use live-rendered 3D graphics for most of the objects in the game including vehicles, characters, and racetracks. This game further expanded on a lot of things from previous games but most notably was the addition of Retro courses. This title features some of the best courses in the franchise with 16 new and 16 retro/enhanced courses to choose from. You also had the awesome capability of having 8 players using just one copy of the game thanks to the Nintendo DS!


2) Mario Kart Double Dash (Nintendo Gamecube)

This one might be controversial to some, but for me, this was one of the best Mario Kart games EVER. Every Mario Kart game adds something new either feature or gameplay-wise and for some reason my favorite…has never been used since. In Mario Kart double dash we have two characters per kart. Which you could have two people on the same Kart or control both characters alone, this allowed you to pick up more weapons or power-ups and also introduced special items that a specific pair of characters could use together while others could not. There also was a bigger dynamic selection of karts that actually had for the first time specific stat benefits depending on the car, they also would be sometimes “inspired” design-wise by characters in-game. There were tons of unlockables in here as well from levels to karts, and other characters there was always something new to discover. I also really enjoyed the courses in DD more than any other entry in the series.


1) Mario Kart 8 (Wii U and Nintendo Switch)

This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, this is the penultimate experience of Mario Kart Racers, it’s the Super Smash Bros of Kart racing, adding a boatload of characters (including ones not even from Mario) as well as courses inspired by those franchises. There was DLC for this game as well that allowed players to continue to come back and replay the game over and over again. The online experience was a very solid one (especially for Nintendo) and that has kept people engaged in this game for the past few years. The courses were over the top and totally different from what we’ve seen in the past. There’s a darn good reason that most switch owners have this in their collection. Now while many people are clamoring for a new one or new content for this one, Nintendo is laughing its way to the bank as this title continues to be a top-selling Switch game.


Article By

blank Kevin Austin has been in gaming journalism in one way or another since the launch of the Nintendo Gamecube. Married and father of 3 children he has been gaming since the ripe age of 6 when he got his first NES system and over 30 years later he is still gaming almost daily. Kevin is also co-founder of the Play Some Video Games (PSVG) Podcast network which was founded over five years ago and is still going strong. Some of his favorite gaming series includes Fallout and Far Cry, he is a sucker for single player adventure games (hence his big reviews for Playstation), and can frequently be found getting down in one battle royale or another. If it's an oddball game, odds are he's all about it.

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